Thursday, 28 April 2011

Scre4m - What's your favourite scary movie?!

I definitely felt the horror genre yesterday as my day started with Sweeny Todd and ended with Scre4m. The demon barber musical directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp was very good and fulfilled all of its gory expectations but it is the fourth in Wes Craven's legendary psycho slasher movies that I want to talk about.

To be perfectly honest I wasn't expecting much. Most of the reviews I had read weren't great and I had already been quite disappointed by the second and third in the series. However, I was actually very good and I don't regret seeing it at all.

The film started very cleverly with a stabbing which turned out to be a film followed by another which also turned out to be a film. After this film inside a film opener it also set out a kind of feeling that it wasn't going to take itself to seriously but was at the same time going to stay true to the genre and the Scream brand. Almost a celebration of the corniness but also brilliance of these slasher movies! I was also quite pleased with the ending and despite guessing all the way through different murderers I was nowhere close to predicting the actual conclusion and it was a good one too!

The performances in the film were also good especially from the likes of Emma Roberts and Hayden Panettierre. I also liked the fact there were the original members of the cast and the return of Sydney Prescott played by Neve Campbell, Gale played by Courtney Cox and Dewey played by David Arquette, although they had all clearly aged and Courtney Cox has certainly been hitting the botox, it was a nice reference back to the original story which worked well with the new decade new rules horror remake idea!

The amount of gore was good too as usually 15 certificate films shy away from showing much of the gruesome stuff but this most definitely wasn't the case especially not in one scene with a murdered girl with her intestines spilling out from her stomach!

It was a really good film and although not totally scary and funny in places because if its stupidity, it did make me jump in places. Also there was enough gore and iconic Ghostface phone calls and attacks to make the film very enjoyable and actually pretty good! My friends and I have also decided to do a Scre4m style Stabathon with all the Scream films followed by all the Scary Movies! So I leave you with the slogan of the film, "What's your favourite scary movie?!"

Friday, 22 April 2011

Easter Holidays

The Easter Holidays seem to have brought with them a somewhat ample amount of material for me to post about. This is most likely because instead of tackling the mountain of homework and revision for my ever closer looming A- levels I have been spending the majority of my time watching films! I therefore have many which I could discuss and don’t really know where to begin so I shall give a sort of brief overview of each one I have watched so far!

Firstly, I have been to the cinema once as I took advantage of the KidsAM offer at vue where you can see a film for one pound and took my sister with my friend and her little sister to see Tangled. The twist on the traditional Rapunzel fairy tale was actually very enjoyable and it was nice to have an original Disney Princess classic once again. The animation was stunning especially the scene with all the floating lanterns. It really was beautiful and I felt myself along with all the younger children in the cinema gaping in awe at the screen! Tangled also appealed to the more modern audience in a manner possibly quite similar to that done by Shrek by lacing a traditional fairy tale with humour which to be fair many films fail at but this attempt was in my opinion very successful.

I have also recently taken great advantage of Sky Anytime using it to watch both Whip It! and Cemetery Junction. Neither was spectacular but they were both watchable and fairly enjoyable. Both debuts of supposed new directorial talent Whip It seeing Drew Barrymore’s first attempt and Cemetery Junction that of Ricky Gervais and Steven Merchant. Whip It follows the story of a teenager who discovers her talent for roller derby. Starring Ellen Page it most definitely falls into the same genre of indie retro films as Juno or Adventureland and has a look and soundtrack to back this up. It was pretty good though, funny in places and easy to watch – just a nice and quite fun film! Also I was surprised by Cemetery Junction, although I am not a fan of Ricky Gervais and didn’t understand really what the need for his small cameo role was, but I found the film itself reasonably funny and just a sweet story too which I didn’t think Gervais would be capable of. The 70s setting came across well and the sets and costumes were very well chosen. I also thought that the acting was good and that the three main characters especially Christian Cooke were particularly good. So generally I was pleasantly surprised!

Also I have finally had the opportunity to read and watch The Time Traveler’s Wife. The book was absolutely amazing, I loved it and it has definitely become one of my favourites. Also despite the film not living up to the book as so many adaptations don’t I did like it and this was probably partially down to Erica Bana and Rachel MacAdams who were very good. It wasn’t how I had imagined the book but good as the same.

Then the final film which I watched just this morning is Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time which I loved! It was a proper action adventure film like Indiana Jones or even the Mummy which we haven’t seen for a long time! It was really good and Jake Gyenhaall and Gemma Arterton were brilliant and I was very impressed by Gyenhaall’s English accent. However the actor who stole the show was Alfred Molina whose tax dodging ostrich race organiser was really very funny. It was just generally a very well made film and I enjoyed the adventure film nature of it.

Hopefully I will get round to doing some work this holiday but I am also looking forward to a week of more film watching ahead, especially a cinema trip to see Scre4m which I can’t wait for!

Friday, 15 April 2011

Brighton Rock

This week I went to see Brighton Rock with a few friends. I am a huge fan of the book and studied it last year at AS level so I was really looking forward to seeing what this new adaptation was like. I had only read bad reviews of the film and so wasn’t expecting much but was still excited to see the film and actually I was generally pleased with most of it.

I thought that the choice to set the classic gangster novel in 1960’s Brighton was genius and the mods and rockers riots worked really well with the violent nature of the story. The cinematography and the look of the film were really good and I thought that the film really looked like it was filmed in the sixties and some of the shots were beautiful. I also really liked the fact that the gruesome and violent parts of the story were stuck to and Pinkie’s death was really effective. The burning of his skin with acid was horrible but amazing and the final shot of him as a crumpled mess at the bottom of the cliff was both disturbing and powerful.

Sam Riley was a very good Pinkie and really captured the confusion of the angry young man and there were very strong moments of him revealing the disturbed psychotic nature of the character’s personality. However, I thought that Pinkie disgust towards Rose wasn’t focused on enough but aside from that he was very well played.

Rose was equally good and I thought Andrea Riseborough really captured her blinding love for Pinkie. Also, I thought her look was very effective; she did come across as the slightly dowdy and dishevelled woman and Riseborough was particularly good at showing her naivety and youth in a way which highlighted Pinkie’s too.

Unfortunately for me the character of Ida wasn’t brilliant though. Helen Mirren is obviously an amazing actress and an icon but maybe this is why she didn’t work as Ida for me. In my head she is the slightly drunk, cheerful motherly figure for Hale and for me this just didn’t come across but it didn’t really take that much away from the film which was good. Also, I wasn’t too sure about Andy Serkis’s Colleoni and felt perhaps he wasn’t as gangstery or powerful as he could’ve been. However, I do think that maybe the period it was set in meant some of these almost stereotypical characters wouldn’t have fitted in that well so I do understand some of the toning down of their characteristics.

I also did like the other members of Pinkie’s mob though and thought that Spicer, Dallow and Cubitt all held their parts well and each added something to the screen be it humour, tension or whatever else.

So all in all it had been a really good film and stuck fairly close to the book but had enough effective alterations to make it something in its own right but for me it all came down to how Rowan Joffe dealt with the iconic ending. The ending of the novel is probably one of my favourite ends to a novel ever when Rose goes off to listen to the record and will inevitably find out the truth about what Pinkie thought of her and the first time I read it, it gave me a kind of sick and at the same time spine chilling feeling. Then, the original film changed the ending to Rose not finding out because the record skips and Rose only hears Pinkie say ‘I love you’ and I understand why they did it in the 1947 version to give a happy ending because it was right for the time. However, when it got to the final scene of this edition I was so disappointed they did the same thing. It actually made me quite angry and I couldn’t believe that this film which up to then had been one which had so much potential for me to be one of the best films I’d seen in ages ruined it by not taking advantage of the amazing ending in the novel.

However, apart from that it was a brilliantly made film and I would recommend it and was most certainly not a waste of time or money which I think is always a plus point to a film!

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Books and Films

In a vain attempt to keep posting once a week I've decided to post before the weekend to ensure I do actually write something! So earlier, whilst enjoying a lonely albeit sunny train journey on my way to buy an new outfit for a party on Friday, my mum's birthday present and inevitably something I don't need most likely of the make-up variety, I decided it would be a good idea to start writing this post!

The sudden spell of sunny weather today has made me think that perhaps I ought to make the most of it and spend my free time reading instead of watching films. Although, obviously I cannot stop and still watch on average at least five films a week, I feel I need to start reading more too in order to be outside more! So, until I have something to read I have compiled a list of book related films which I love!

One of the best adaptations of a book into a film for me probably has to be Chocolat. The book is written by Joanna Harris and the film stars Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp. To anyone who hasn't read or even seen it, it is about a woman who moves to a little provincial town in France and sets up a chocolaterie much to the disgust of the townspeople. Sounds terrible put like that but it's really sweet and I would strongly recommend it; it is probably in my top ten films of all time!

I also need to mention a disastrous adaptation of one of my favourite novels ever. PS I Love You by Cecilia Ahern is a beautiful book. I absolutely love it and it makes me cry every time I read it! However, the film was a huge disappointment. Not only did it totally change a lot of the original story, but it also failed to affect me emotionally at all! The casting was atrocious as well and possibly the main thing wrong with the whole thing! I generally have a problem with accents in films and they nearly always tend to ruin them for me. There are very few films in which there are actors putting on an accent that I would say is faultless. Naturally doing an accent is very difficult and I would say that Irish is particularly hard to get right without sounding like a ridiculous caracticature. Unfortunately, Gerard Butler fails to get the accent right and his performance completely brings down the film. Also, in the case of Hilary Swank, in my mind she couldn't be more wrong for the part. Intensely irritating throughout and what could've been an amazing film turned out to be a massive car crash of a disappointment!

Generally, I think it's quite hard to get an adaptation right and I think few are perfect. It is also difficult not to be over critical of any adaptation if you have read the book as without a shadow of a doubt it will be different to what you pictured and there are very few cases where the film will exceed your expectations.
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